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What Are Some Signs of High Functioning Autism? Symptoms, Checklist


high-functioning autism

People with high-functioning autism have the ability to read, write, and handle basic skills; however, they have difficulties with social interaction and communication.

High-functioning autism refers to autism spectrum disorder where people can read, write, and handle basic skills, such as eating and getting dressed.

  • However, they still have difficulties with social interaction and communication.
  • They are slow to take social cues and face challenges to make friends.

Some communication challenges that a person with high-functioning autism may face include:

  • Participating in conversation is difficult
  • Trouble connecting with others’ thoughts or feelings
  • Difficulty reading others’ body language and facial expressions well, for example, the person might be unable to comprehend if a person is happy or sad
  • Unable to understand sarcastic or emotive undertones
  • Usage of flat, monotone or robotic pattern of speaking that fails to communicate their thoughts
  • Inventing one’s own descriptive words and phrases
  • Failing to understand figures of speech and turns of phrase (such as “the early bird catches the worm,” or “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”)
  • Not being comfortable looking into someone’s eyes while talking to them
  • Using the same tone or speaking patterns at home, with friends, or at the workplace
  • Like to talk about one or two favorite topics
  • Difficulty building and maintaining close friendships

Some emotional and behavioral difficulties faced by people with high-functioning autism include:

  • Trouble regulating their emotions and responses to them
  • Outbursts or meltdowns following a simple routine or expectation change
  • Responding with an emotional meltdown to an unexpected event
  • Getting upset with rearrangements and shifting
  • Following rigid routine schedules and daily patterns that need to be maintained at any cost
  • Having repetitive behaviors and rituals
  • Making noises in places where pin drop silence is expected

Food behaviors exhibited by people with autism include:

  • Fussy eating food that falls into the same food groups, such as sweet, salty, or bitter
  • Accepting or rejecting foods based on texture, smell, color, or temperature
  • Dipping or covering all food in sauce
  • Stuffing food in the mouth due to the lack of sensory sensitivity
  • Biting inner lips and cheeks while seeing foods they dislike
  • Only eating food presented in the same manner each time

Other signs of high-functioning autism include:

  • Being deeply knowledgeable about a few specific areas of interest (such as a historical period, book series, film, industry, hobby, or field of study)
  • Being smart in one or two challenging academic subject areas but have great difficulty doing well in others
  • Experiencing hypersensitivity or impaired sensitivity to sensory input (such as pain, sound, touch, or smell)
  • Being clumsy and having difficulty with coordination
  • Prefer to play and work with themselves rather than with others
  • Being perceived as eccentric or an academic

What is high-functioning autism?

High-functioning autism is not a proper medical diagnosis and refers to people with autism who can read, write, handle basic skills, or live independently. The umbrella term for various autism disorders is an autism spectrum disorder.

Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autisms are milder forms of autism and obsolete terms in the current scenario.

Medically Reviewed on 1/4/2022


Image Source: iStock Images

Roybal B. What is High-Functioning Autism? WebMD.

Ada Health. Signs of Autism.



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